Timothy Mead, Minsk – “There is nothing like the feeling of completing a recording and being able to share it with the world”

Written by Jadranka Balaš

Prior their first ever show in Belgrade on October 27th we had a chance to chat with Timothy Mead of doom/post metal giants Minsk. What he told us about the band, upcoming European tour with Zatokrev and their split release “BIGOD” and many other things, you can read below.

Let’s start with the bands name… Why naming the band after Belarus capital? How much is it connected to your song themes?
Timothy: The name came from a fascination with history and geography and an intrigue about the history of that part of the world. For us, being kids from small towns in the center of the US, the city just seemed like something so far away and mysterious. We were particularly intrigued by the history of the city, it’s resilience and ability to come back over and over through the centuries of struggle. We took from it an analogy of destruction and rebirth, something like a phoenix rising. I wouldn’t say that it has consistently tied to the thematic aspects of our songs, but in a general sense, that theme of suffering and survival and rebirth has always remained.

Speaking of it, have you ever played at Minsk? If not, would you like to?
Timothy: Unfortunately we have not yet been able to play in Minsk. The country of Belarus has its own particular political situation that makes it challenging. We’ve made some connections there and would love to be able to visit some day. It must happen at some point. When it does, we know it will be special.

What are you trying to communicate with your music? Did you have certain sound in mind or message you want to send through your music when Minsk was formed?
Timothy: I don’t know that we are attempting to communicated anything specific other than having our songs be a true outpouring of us as individuals and a collective. We’ve always hoped to convey something real and true, something meaningful, but that has taken different forms over the years. A governing hope from the beginning was to make something that was ugly and beautiful at once. I think that is still relevant today.

What is the most difficult thing about being in metal band? What do you love the most about that?
Timothy: For me the most difficult things, most of the time, are just the logistics of making things happen. Certainly we’ve been fortunate to connect with people all over the world that get what we’re doing and show us support. But while that reach is fantastic, metal in general is a small community, and for us doing something that only connects with a small portion of that community does have its limitations. We are proud of the DIY aspect of what we do, but handling everything from writing songs to the day to day management can be challenging. Structuring lives to be able to tour, juggling careers and families, is also challenging. But of course there are many many things that we love, that make all of the work worth while. There is nothing like the feeling of completing a recording and being able to share it with the world, of the feeling of traveling to different places, meeting like minded people, performing together on stage.

Post-metal/post-rock shows are often very intense, transcendental, with very special vibe and I’ll dare to say, they attract very specific public. How do you feel when you’re onstage? How much do you rely on energy of your band mates and fans?
Timothy: The aspect of the live shows you describe is certainly very special to us. When we’re on stage, we definitely feed off of energy from each other and the crowd. But as you say, it’s a very “specific” public. Sometimes that means we play for small crowds or in unusual situations. While it’s a luxury when we play in perfect settings, we try to be as self-contained as we can. We like to say that when we are performing, we just do our best to create our own space. Once we begin a set and find our footing, we do our best to give that special experience, no matter what the situation.

Is touring in Europe different from America? What was favorite show in your career?
Timothy: Yes, touring in Europe is very different than touring in the States. For one, we are much further from home, which presents logistical challenges. But we also value touring in Europe very much. People in Europe seem, in general, to be very appreciative of strange art and music, and that works in our favor. And as you’ve heard from other bands, I’m sure, the day to day aspects of touring in Europe are a luxury for bands from the States… knowing every night you’ll have a decent meal, place to sleep, etc., these things are not always the case for bands like us when we tour at home. As for a favorite show, there is no way I could pick just one. We’ve been at this for over fifteen years now, been fortunate to tour all over the place. There are just too many wonderful memories to pick just one.

Where did the idea of split release with Zatokrev come from? It is more than interesting considering that you come from two different continents, different worlds and histories, and first of all play different styles of music?
Timothy: We first met the guys from Zatokrev, I believe, on our first European tour in 2009. An immediate friendship was struck, and we’ve just managed to maintain that over the years. Every time we are in Europe we seem to have an opportunity to see them or play some shows together here and there. I am sure that along the way we daydreamed many times about eventually working together in some capacity, and things just worked out that we were able to make that happen. I’m happy that you find the concept intriguing. We also think that the differences and similarities make for a nice melding of two bands.

How was working with guys from Zatokrev? Can you tell more about “BIGOD”, for all those who haven’t chance to hear it yet?
Timothy: Working with them was very rewarding. We are inspired by their historic output, and their contributions for the split were no different. The split is essentially four songs, two from each bands. Both bands had a chance to contribute some vocals for the other’s songs. We wanted the feel of the release to really feel like more of a complete album than a split, and I think we’ve achieved that. It’s being released as a double LP and CD by Consouling Sounds out of Belgium and as a digital release by Czar of Crickets Productions from Switzerland. We are very excited to finally be able to share it with the world.

Any plans for new full-length album in near future?
Timothy: There are no specific plans right now, but we certainly have started thinking towards a new full length. The time and effort spent on the split was also a chance for us to work out some new approaches to writing and recording, and that will be valuable when the actual work on a new full length begins. There are many many ideas in the works now, and at some point in the near future we will begin the process of taking those ideas and putting them into motion.

In a week your heading to Europe on tour with Zatokrev and we’ll se you on October 27th in Belgrade… Any message for Serbian fans?
Timothy: Yes, we are very excited to FINALLY be able to visit Serbia for the first time. We’ve received messages over the years asking when we will be there, and it’s always disappointing to not have a good answer to that question. We hope that people are as excited as we are. We know that we will do our best to help create a very special night for everyone that decides to spend their most valuable currency, their time, with us. We can’t wait to be there!